If you hope to secure an interview, you need your CV to be engaging and to grab the recruiter’s attention immediately.
So, if you’ve been sending out lots of applications and you’re yet to hear back from any of them, there could be several reasons for this.
There are lots of simple mistakes you could be making that are diminishing your chances of landing your next job.
Below, we’re going to look at five of the most common mistakes you could be making and how to fix these right away.
1. Spelling and grammar errors
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that people make on their CVs is spelling and grammar errors.
Whether you are confident in your spelling abilities or not, having mistakes might suggest you lack attention to detail and that you didn’t put enough time and care into your application.
Plus, it doesn’t look very professional, especially if you’re going to be in charge of teaching others.
Therefore, it’s crucial that once you’ve written the content for your CV, you read this through several times to make sure it’s perfect. It’s also a good idea to put this through a grammar checker. You can find free tools like this online.
As well as checking this through yourself, it’s also a good idea to have a friend or family member read through your CV. They might be able to spot something that you’ve missed, be that spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or even just clumsy wording.
2. Poor formatting
Not formatting your CV correctly is another huge yet common mistake. Too many people will try to use ‘quirky’ or mismatched fonts, bold colours, irregular spacing and incorrect margins, as well as having huge blocks of text with no bullet points or subheadings.
This can be very off-putting for the recruiter, and as soon as they look at your CV, they’ll be able to tell if it’s formatted poorly. This looks unprofessional and could result in your application quickly landing on the rejection pile.
To combat this, you need to make sure that you think carefully about how you structure and format the content, using headings, subheadings and bullet points where necessary. You should also make sure the text is easy to read, not too big or small and that your margins follow suit. For example, Times New Roman in font size 12 is usually a winner.
This will make it much easier for the recruiter to skim through the content and find the information they need.
3. Not including your achievements
When writing a CV, far too many people will focus their attention on listing their responsibilities, and while it’s helpful for the recruiter to understand what you did in your past roles, they don’t simply want a list of your daily tasks.
They want to see what you gained from the role and how you made a real difference to the students, teachers, schools or other educational establishments.
With this in mind, it’s crucial that you don’t just list out your responsibilities and that you lead with your achievements instead.
Remember, you want to grab the recruiter’s attention, so use facts and figures to give more context to your achievements and to prove how you’ve added real value in your past teaching positions.
4. A generic CV
Every CV you submit needs to be tailored to the specific position and educational establishment you’re applying to. Despite this, too many people will create a generic application and fire this off to multiple schools.
If you want to prove that you’re genuinely interested in the position, then you need to read the job description carefully and highlight the keywords and skills that the employer is looking for.
You can then tailor your CV with the relevant keywords, as well as the skills and achievements that will best prove you’re right for the role.
5. Incorrect contact details
Finally, imagine if the reason you weren’t hearing back from your applications was that you put your mobile number down wrong. Well, this happens more than you’d think.
Not only this, but far too many people will use inappropriate email addresses without giving it much thought. Think about it, if you're going for a teaching position, listing your email as email@example.com is not going to look very professional.
So before you hit send, double-check that you’ve got your contact details right and that you’ve used a professional-looking email address, even if you have to set up a new one. Just using your name is usually the best option.
You should also check that you haven’t made any other common mistakes from the list above. This will increase your chances of getting invited in for an interview.
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.
About the author
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading UK careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.